The Nintendo Magic Strikes Again With Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon

Over the past week or so I’ve been terribly busy, so busy in fact that my review for Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon has yet to be completed. Steven’s been harassing me for an article on the latest gem to hit the 3DS, and I figured I might as well indulge him. Know that either he or I will be writing a comprehensive review on the game in the coming days.

Say what you will about Nintendo, but no one can deny their games have a certain charm to them. Some of their flagship series are ageless, like Super Mario, others are majestic and wondrous like The Legend of Zelda, but all of these games share one thing in common, they’re a blast to play. It’s true that not everything Nintendo makes will cater to everyone reading this article, but more often than not you’ll walk away feeling like you’ve had a heck of a good time from most of the games Nintendo makes. Case in point, Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon, or LM2 as I’ll be referring to it from here on out.

Quick show of hands, how many of you remember this bad boy?
Quick show of hands, how many of you remember this bad boy?

Who else would make a sequel to a game that’s over a decade old? OK, maybe Blizzard, but in the console space it’s almost unheard of. The funny thing is, this is the second such franchise Nintendo has done this too recently, with the first being Kid Icarus: Uprising, also released on the 3DS. Back on November 17th, 2001 gamers all across North America were introduced to Luigi’s Mansion, the flagship launch title for the purple GameCube. At the time it featured unparalleled animation, spectral effects and tons of other bells and whistles. It never received the highest praise in the media, but I absolutely adored it. I still remember booting it up for the first time and seeing all the details in the backgrounds and how whenever Luigi got nervous he’d start singing along to the theme. These touches were classic, and made me sad to know that we’d likely never see another installment in the series. While it may have taken almost 12 years to get here, I am so thankful Nintendo allowed Next Level Games to make this awesome game.

Stunning is one word often used to describe Luigi's Mansion on the GameCube.
Stunning is one word often used to describe Luigi’s Mansion on the GameCube.

So let’s get to the facts. LM2 is a direct sequel to the original, but you don’t have to have played it in order to get the most out of this one. All the little touches are back and better than ever thanks to the inclusion of 3D. Let me say this right now, outside of Super Mario 3D Land, LM2 features the best use of 3D I’ve ever seen in a videogame. Both of these titles are showstoppers for anyone that says the 3D on the 3DS is a gimmick. When used correctly, it not only enhances the visual experience, but also the gameplay. The ghost hunting version of tug-of-war is still at play here, but because there is no second analog stick, you simply rotate the left analog stick in the opposite direction of the ghost to help Luigi suck them into his vacuum. Another modification that I appreciate is the Ghost Hunter, the original was based on the Game Boy Color, whereas the new version is based on the DS. Again, it’s little touches like this that help bring the package together. There’s even a multiplayer mode, although I’ve yet to try it out.

As for some of the big addition or changes, one of the biggest is the game’s structure. Gone are the continuous hallways and backtracking to reach new goals. Now there are a series of mansion players get to play around in. Each mansion acts like a world in a Mario game. These mansions are then broken up into a series of levels, which are rather short. That’s to be expected given the game is on the 3DS, i.e. a portable. While part of me wishes we had the choice to keep exploring instead of being teleported back to the professor, the other half understands why this decision was made. After you complete a certain number of levels you take on some very challenging boss fights. I was shocked that the boss of the first mansion required a lot of thought to defeat. After that, you can then return to previously completed stages to try and locate a Boo, with your newly upgraded Poltergust 5000. There’s just so much to see and do, and good luck getting all the collectables. It’ll take a dog’s age to find them all.

Incredible is one word that will be used to describe Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon on the 3DS.
Incredible is one word that will be used to describe Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon on the 3DS.

As a whole the game features some excellent puzzles, incredibly well hidden secrets, and all around fantastic action. I didn’t expect to have as much fun as I’m currently having. Then again Next Level Games knows what they’re doing. These are the same boys and girls that made Punch-Out!! on the Wii, and that turned into one of my favorite Wii games. So I guess it shouldn’t come as any surprise that they’ve been able to take another classic Nintendo game and give it fresh new life, this time on the 3DS. Whatever these guys do next I’ll be there day one for sure!

Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon is an excellent game that you should either download from the eShop, or purchase the cart ASAP. You’ll understand all the praise I’m giving the game, and I’m certain you’ll agree it’s one of the very best games out there right now. When you couple this with February’s Fire Emblem: Awakening, it’s hard to argue that the 3DS is on fire right now, and that Nintendo’s magic is still very much alive and well.

3 thoughts on “The Nintendo Magic Strikes Again With Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon”

  1. Yeah luigi’s mansion 2 is fantastic. Im now at the 3rd level of the 4th mansion. Having a blast, and I know Ill have a lot to go back too after Ive completed the main game as I have tons of collectables and boos to find. Plus, i hear the multiplayer is pretty fun too. Well have to try it out soon.

  2. Surprisingly loaded sequel in terms of content. A lot bigger than I expected it to be. Nice impressions there. My only gripes are the controls being kind of tacky compared to the original, and a lot of immersion of the original has been lost thanks to the mission-based structure of the game. If they keep it free-roaming instead the constant interruptions of going back to E.Gadd, it would’ve added a lot more impressiveness to the game. As of now, the missions do pad the gameplay a bit as something can’t be obtained unless you backtrack to a certain mission. I gotta say though, the puzzles and secrets are quite excellent. A lot of stuff are really well-hidden, giving a Metroid feel to the game.

    So, guys, we gotta find time to get together and play ScareScraper. Multiplayer looks interesting to say the least. Hit me up or let’s Skype so we can go for it.

  3. Great write-up! I’m really excited to get Luigi’s Mansion 2 when I get the time. School has been destroying me lately, so I’ve been really busy. I love the original Luigi’s Mansion and still replay it on occasion, so I’m excited about playing the sequel.

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